Soumya Prakash Pradhan

You might have seen in movies how high-tech equipment is showcased, where a movie gangster operates everything with just one click.

Similarly, in real life, scammers can operate a user's device simply by activating malware on it.

Recently, cybersecurity experts uncovered a new version of Android malware called 'Roaming Mantis.'

It is cleverly distributed through SMS texts containing shortened URLs.

Clicking on these links takes users to a page where they are encouraged to download an Android app installation file (APK).

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According to a report by BleepingComputer, researchers at McAfee have identified this new variant of the XLoader malware.

Once installed, it can automatically run itself. It pretence as 'Chrome' but with an italicised 'r,' and it requests permission to run continuously in the background.

Although McAfee has alerted Google about this new threat, XLoader's ability to execute malicious actions autonomously poses a significant risk.

It can steal sensitive data such as passwords, messages, photos, contacts, and even device hardware information like IMEI, SIM, and serial numbers.

To protect your Android device from XLoader, ensure that Google Play Protect is active.

If you have disabled this feature and want to enable it again, open the Google Play Store, tap your profile picture at the top right, select 'Play Protect,' and then tap 'Turn on' on the following screen.

As every cybersecurity expert advises, never click on unnecessary links and always remember never to install APK files from third-party sources.

It is safest to stick to official platforms like the Play Store and Apple Store for app downloads.